When looking through the viewfinder of some cameras, a grid divided vertically and horizontally into thirds can be seen. This grid uses the Rule of Thirds. If your camera does not have this grid, imagine a grid and using this rule, the composition of a shot can be improved providing a more balanced shot. Placing elements of a shot on the intersections of the grid creates interest, a focal point and tends to make an image more natural. Like any rule, it can be broken.
4. Subject brightness range. (SBR) Subject brightness range is the difference between the brightest and the darkest tone in a shot and is measured in f-stops. This is important to keep in mind when using a digital camera. If this difference is too high, definition will be lost in the shadows and the highlights. This is why often photographs shot on an overcast day often look better than if there was full sun.
5. Focal point. Think about how someone will view the image. Do you want the viewer to look at one place or scan the entire image? The eye can be drawn to different parts of an image by imagining rays drawn to a specific point. This point often co-insides with a grid point from the rule of thirds.
6. Focus/Depth of field. When looking at a scene, our eyes see everything as sharp, however a camera does not reproduce the scene in quite the same way.
The part of an image that's sharp is known as depth of field. The size of this area is determined by three factors, lens aperture, lens focal length and the distance the camera is from the subject. Using these elements allows control over the depth of field in an image. Fashion and Macro (close-up) photography usually has a narrow depth of field and for a landscape scene, a wide depth of field.
To get everything in focus, try this trick, set up your image and focus one third up from the bottom of the image. It draws the whole image into focus.
Flash should not be confined to night time use only. Flash can be used to great effect during the day and lifts the foreground. Using "fill" flash reduces the light difference (SBR) across the shot.
This can be anything. I keep some "Blu Tac" in my bag as you only need three sticks and some "Blu Tac" to make a disposable tripod. Be inventive, make use of what's around, a tripod can be a rock, pole, picnic table, the car, anything that's not moving.
9. Choose the best time of day.
The time of day can make a huge difference to the impact of a shot. A landscape or water shot may look better at dawn or dusk. The shadows on a building may look better mid-afternoon than noon. Sometimes it takes a few visits to achieve the best lighting for a subject.
To push more light into a shot, reflectors can be used. Reflectors can be purchased from a photographic supplier or you can make your own. Glue some aluminium foil to a piece of A4 or A3 cardboard. For a diffused light, use polystyrene or a white card. It's amazing what a difference this can make without the aid of a flash. Using a gold foil will throw a yellow light and the silver will cast a white light.